Number of Covid-19 patients in need of critical care increasing in SudurpaschimThe current medical infrastructure and human resources across all Covid-19 specific hospitals in the province are not enough to provide effective treatment, say health officials.
The number of Covid-19 patients in need of ICU and ventilators in Sudurpaschim Province has increased since mid-August, health workers say.
Dr Hemraj Pandey, the medical superintendent at the Seti Provincial Hospital, said the number of critical patients across the province’s hospitals is on the rise.
“Most of the Covid-19 patients who have checked into the provincial hospital in the past few days are in need of ventilators,” he said. “It is becoming increasingly necessary for the hospital to add more ICU beds, ventilators and even health workers.”
Seti Provincial Hospital has been designated as the referral hospital for Covid-19 patients in Sudurpaschim Province. According to Pandey, there are eight ICU beds for coronavirus patients and five ICU beds for regular patients in the hospital.
“We have 10 ventilators now. But only adding equipment cannot ensure effective care for patients; we also need critical care doctors,” he said. “We only have one critical care doctor at the hospital currently.”
According to him, the hospital administration has informed the provincial and federal governments about the situation at the hospital.
The Sudurpaschim Health Directorate says only three government hospitals in the province have ICU beds and ventilator facilities. Dadeldhura Hospital has three ventilators and Mahakali Hospital in Kanchanpur has three ventilators and eight ICU beds, the data at the directorate showed.
All Covid-19 specific hospitals, including district hospitals, in Sudurpaschim are facing a shortage of beds and health workers worry that the hospitals might not be able to accommodate the increasing number of Covid-19 patients. In Seti Provincial Hospital, out of a 43-bed isolation facility, 36 beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. “There are five patients in ICU beds and three patients on ventilators,” said Pandey.
There are a total of 310 isolation beds in nine district hospitals, including Mahakali and Dadeldhura hospitals, of the province. Until Monday, there were 96 Covid-19 patients in the isolation facilities of these hospitals.
Several local units and non-government organisations in Sudurpaschim Province have also set up 1,921 isolation beds for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Currently, 476 patients are occupying those beds, the data of the local units showed.
Dr Gunaraj Awasthi, director at the Sudurpaschim Health Directorate, says the current medical infrastructure in the province is not enough to deal with the surging number of Covid-19 patients.
“If the number of asymptomatic patients increases day by day, it won’t be possible to handle them all with limited health workers and infrastructures,” he said. “Evaluating the possible risk, we are going to add two ventilators in each of the nine district hospitals in the province. The directorate is also planning to add at least 1,000 isolation beds in every district.”
Currently, Kailali is among the top ten districts with the most number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Until Monday, 3,022 individuals in the district have tested positive with 10 Covid-19-related deaths. There are 673 active cases in the district, the data of the District Health Office in Kailali showed.
According to Laxmi Upadhyay, chief at the health section of the Dhangadhi sub metropolis, the number of positive cases in the sub-metropolis has been increasing of late.
“There were only 233 Covid-19 cases in Dhangadhi sub metropolis before mid-August. Now, the number stands at close to 1,000,” she said. “Among the 233 patients, 97 percent were newcomers who had arrived in the district from India and other countries. But there has been a surge in the number of infections in the district since then. Ninety-seven percent of new infections have been reported from the community level.”
According to her, within the last two months, Dhangadhi reported around 800 new Covid-19 cases and none of them had any travel history. “This indicates that the virus has already transmitted at the community level.”
So far, 997 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Dhangadhi with 201 active cases.
The data of the Sudurpaschim Health Directorate showed that 8,205 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Sudurpaschim Province until now. Among them, 1,282 are active cases with 19 reported deaths.